Understanding Tamil Nadu – [ 4 ]


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CHENNAI – TAMIL NADU – INDIA           DECEMBER 26 , 2012           11.55 P.M.

 

The political state of Tamil Nadu in India was...

The political state of Tamil Nadu in India was created in 1969 when erstwhile Madras State was renamed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

After four days stay , I left Vaitheeswaran Koil in the afternoon and reached Chennai in the night . Sitting in the room of my hotel Golden Tower , I am writing the 4th installment of ” Understanding Tamil Nadu ” .

In my last 3 blogs I have tried to explain some of the misconceptions about Tamil Nadu , its leaders and general public . For the large sections of North Indian people the image of Tamil Nadu of 1965 is hard to forget . I think I have explained everything in detail about Tamil Nadu of 1965 .

Conjeevaram Natarajan Annadurai , Muthuvel Karunanidhi , Marudhur Gopal Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa Jayaram have dominated the Tamil Nadu scene since 1967 . They all jointly left Dravid Kazhagam led by Erode Venkata Ramasamy Naicker ” Periyar ” a.k.a. E. V. Ramasamy Naicker ” Periyar ” and formed Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam a.k.a. D.M.K. in 1949 .

 

English: M. G. Ramachandran, K. A. Mathialagan...

M. G. Ramachandran, K. A. Mathialagan, C. N. Annadurai, C. Rajagopalachari, M. Karunanidhi at a private function in Jan 1968 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Conjeevaram Natarajan Annadurai a.k.a. C. N. Annadurai led D.M.K. to victory in 1967 elections and became the first non – Congress leader to form a majority government in any Indian state . He left Dravid Kazhagam and formed a new party because he was not willing to be part of anti national forces . He was against vivisection of India and was in favour of fighting elections under Indian Constitution . Atheism and anti – Hindi sentiments were the only two things which he accepted and borrowed from Dravid Kazhagam . He was instrumental in dropping the demand of independent Dravid Nadu of Periyar and berrying it forever in the pious land of Tamil Nadu .

C. N. Annadurai's House in Kanchipuram

C. N. Annadurai’s House in Kanchipuram

Anna Durai Memorial at Marina Beach

Anna Durai Memorial at Marina Beach

After his death in 1969 the post of chief minister went to Muthuvel Karunanidhi a.k.a. M. Karunanidhi . He followed almost same principles of C. N. Annadurai and atheism and anti – Hindi rhetoric still continues to be his credo .

But he has participated in the N.D.A. as well as U.P.A. governments of centre and his earlier bellicose attitude does not exist any more . A five time chief minister of Tamil Nadu is not the same M. Karunanidhi of yore . He is a changed man .

English: K. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tam...

M. Karunanidhi, ex Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1972 Marudhur Gopala Ramachandran a.k.a. M. G. Ramachandran split the D.M.K. and formed Anna D.M.K. It was later on rechristened as All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam a.k.a. A.I.A.D.M.K. He is the only chief minister of Tamil Nadu , who holds the record of winning three consecutive terms as the chief minister . Though he followed atheism initially , but he was a practising Hindu and a follower of Bhagawan Muruga . During his regime , animosity towards North India disappeared and he followed a policy of no confrontation towards centre .

MGR Memorial

MGR Memorial

His successor Jayalalitha jayaram is a Hindu Brahmin and though she has not said anything openly but she is not an atheist . She is the only leader of prominence from Tamil Nadu , who can speak fluent Hindi . In my personal opinion she is only leader from Tamil Nadu who is capable of becoming the Prime Minister of India . I must say that she could , rather she should become the Prime Ministar of this nation . That day will be a red-letter day in our history and it will be a final blow to some of the misguided policies of E. V. Ramasamy Naicker ” Periyar ” .

Tamil Nadu legislative assembly election, 2011

Jayalalithaa , Incumbent Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thus in Tamil Nadu of today a different picture emerges these days . Gone are the days of unnecessary bellicose attitude of Tamil politicians . Credit for this goes to Bharat Ratna M. G. Ramachandran . Again a personal opinion , but I think he would have been an excellent Prime Minister of India . But alas he died young . 70 is no age to go .

I will again say that Tamil Nadu is changing fast . Or it has already changed ?

I am waiting to narrate these findings to all the current students of  my acting school Vidur’s Kreating Charakters .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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Understanding Tamil Nadu – [ 3 ]


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VAITHEESWARAN KOIL – TAMIL NADU – INDIA           DECEMBER 25 , 2012           10.55 P.M.

The political state of Tamil Nadu in India was...

The political state of Tamil Nadu in India was created in 1969 when erstwhile Madras State was renamed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After going through my two previous blogs on ” Understanding Tamil Nadu ” , I think that E. V. Ramasamy Naicker ” Periyar ” and his various steps , which he took during his movements , would be properly understood out of Tamil Nadu also . His rationalism , espousal of self-respect , advocacy for women rights and eradication of caste system is epoch – making and has everlasting effect on Tamil people and Tamil Nadu .

English: http://www.periyarkural.com

A Young E. V. Ramasamy Naicker Periyar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His works among weaker sections of Tamil Nadu , his efforts for the uplifting of lower castes , long subjugated by Brahmins , would be always held in high esteem and would be considered exemplary .

His untiring efforts for the uplifting of women bears indelible marks on the social psyche of Tamil society . Widow marriage , in my opinion , is his most colossal work .

He tirelessly worked for the eradication of child marriage . He espoused inter – caste marriages and opened many educational institutions for the weaker section of society .

It is not for nothing that UNESCO citation in 1970 described Periyar as ” the prophet of the new age  , the Socrates of South East Asia , father of social reform movement and arch enemy of ignorance , superstitions , meaningless customs and base manners .”

His blind opposition of HINDI , HINDU , HINDUSTAN somewhat darkens his other exemplary and far – reaching social works . It is this aspect of his personality and work that brings suspicion and doubt in the minds of large sections of North India . To understand Tamil Nadu better , let us take all the three causes of Periyar , one by one .

HINDI : I closely followed politics since my Allahabad days . I went to Allahabad in 1967 and it was the year when anti – Hindi agitation started in Tamil Nadu . I read many wicked stories published in the Hindi newspapers and magazines of those days . One story said that if you are lost and approach a Tamil speaking person for asking the right route , you will be unable to get an answer if you ask in Hindi . Even if  a Tamil speaking person knows Hindi , he won’t answer and will go away saying ” HINDI ILLAI ” .

I found this story false during my recent forays in the hinterlands of Tamil Nadu . If I approach a person for asking something and even if I ask the question in Hindi , I was not spurned . I get the answer in broken Hindi and that too with smiling face . Sometimes if the person genuinely doesn’t know Hindi , instead of running away , he tries to explain everything in fluent Tamil with lots of hand movements and facial expressions .

If Tamil people think that Tamil is an ancient language and it is older than Hindi , I think that we have to respect the sentiment . Tamil is used in every sphere of Tamil Nadu and you will hardly find signboards in Hindi but in my opinion that is absolutely fine . A particular language should be respected and should be used in the land of its origin . That’s the basis for the formation of linguistic states , which has been agreed by all the political parties .

HINDU : E. V. Ramasamy Naicker ” Periyar ” was atheist for sure . Through his organization Dravid Kazhagam , he started denouncing Hinduism . It started with denunciation of Iyers and Iyengars , Brahmins of Tamil Nadu and culminated in processions , where idols of Ram , Sita and Lakshman were garlanded with slippers .

I can understand his dislike for Brahmins . I am willing to fathom his opposition of Sanskrit language also . I am willing to accept his credo of atheism . We in India have accepted Charvak , the first atheist , as a saint . But you can’t force your belief of not believing in religion on others .

He organized a procession to the Marina beach in 1956 , to burn pictures of Rama , the God . His followers broke idols in the temples , banished Brahmins from the every section of tamil society and organized Ravan Leelas .

But in my recent visits to the state , I found to my surprise that in every temple of Tamil Nadu  a serpentine queue of devotees are visible . It has to be seen to be believed . People come in very large numbers and they pray and worship . Temples are well maintained in Tamil Nadu and I can vouch that Hinduism is thriving in the state much vigorously . Dravid Kazhagam is now a smaller force and Tamil Nadu is as religious as any part of India . In following the tenets of Hinduism they are much ahead and dogmatically strict . On EKADASHI , I found people thronging the temples . I am yet to see same enthusiasm on EKADASHI in North India . Moreover the Tamil Nadu state emblem tells it in a more fitting way .

English: Emblem of the State Government of Tam...

Emblem of the State Government of Tamil Nadu used by the state government for public notices in the press and for publicity purposes. The emblem of India is the image used on the India Wikipedia article. தமிழ்: தமிழ் நாடு அரசின் சின்னம். (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Burning effigies of Bhagawan Ram and other Hindu Gods and the days of celebrating Ravan Leelas are over . Atheism can be accepted , as Charvak was accepted in olden times and he was even called a RISHI .

HINDUSTAN : One of the most disturbing legacy of Periyar was to give a call for Dravid Nadu . He wanted to unite all the four provinces of South India and wanted this entity to be an independent Dravid Nadu .

But majority of his supporters revolted against this demand . In the leadership of C. N. Annadurai , they formed Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam and fought elections . Since 1965 either D.M.K. or A.I.A.D.M.K. rules the state and the demand of so-called Dravid Nadu is thrown somewhere in the trash bins of history .

But demand for separation from India is there in Jammu & Kashmir and all the provinces of North East India . They are more palpable . In fact these provinces are waging armed struggle against the nation . Then why to blame only Tamil Nadu ? There was just a demand and that too by just one organization , Dravid Kazhagam . And today Dravid Kazhagam is not a major force .

A very interesting fact of Tamil Nadu and Dravid politics is that Periyar was himself a Kannada speaking Kannadiga . One of the most successful chief ministers of Tamil Nadu , M. G. Ramachandran was a Kandy , Sri Lanka born and Malayalam speaking actor turned politician . current chief minister Miss Jayalalithaa Jayaram is also a Kannadiga and the irony of the situation is that she is a Brahmin . And she speaks fluent Hindi . Present day superstar Rajanikant , incidentally , is a Maharashtrian .

English: , the Chief Minister of , India.

Jayalalitha , the current Chief Minister of , Tamil Nadu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So the fort of atheism and anti Hindi these days is held by Muthuvel Karunanidhi only . But even his family members have changed . M. K. Stalin and Kannimozhi are not that dogmatic .

English: K. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tam...

K. Karunanidhi, the ex Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I am stating with all my knowledge accumulated during this visit that Tamil Nadu is changing . Or it has already changed ?

After my return , I would love to share these findings with all the current students of my acting institute Vidur’s Kreating Charakters .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.kreatingcharakters.net

www.vidurfilms.com

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Vidur’s Travel Diary – 6 : Kanchipuram


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA          DECEMBER 05 , 2011           01.00 P.M.

On the 30th morning , my last day in Chennai , I started for my journey to Kanchipuram . It is 71 km. from Chennai . I had read in the Holy scriptures that 7 holy cities have powers to give you salvation or Nirvana . They are Ayodhya , Mathura , Maya [ Haridwar ] , Kashi [ Varanasi ] in Uttar Pradesh , Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu , Avantika [ Ujjain ] in Madhya Pradesh and Dwarka in Gujarat .

अयोध्या , मथुरा , माया , काशी , कांची , अवंतिका ;
पुरीद्वारावातिश्चैव , सप्तैते मोक्षदायिका

This is the shloka from Garud Puran and I used to recite it during my childhood . I had already visited 6 cities and only Kanchipuram was left . So the excitement was palpable . After fabulous breakfast in a roadside restaurant , we reached Kanchipuram in 2 hours . The city , formerly known as Conjeevaram , is situated on the banks of Vegavati river and is known for thousand temples and silk sarees . It is also called City of 1000 Temples . Once upon a time , it was kingdom of Pallava empire for 200 years , and is one of the oldest cities of South India .

Our first stop was 3,500 years old Ekambarnathar Temple :

At The Gate of Ekambarnathar Temple

Gopuram of 3,500 years old Ekambarnathar Temple :

Gopuram of Ekambarnathar Temple

Kanchipuram is the centre of one of the four Mathas , stablished by Adi Shankaracharya . Badrinath in the North , Dwarka in the West , Jagannath Puri in the East and Kanchipuram in the South . So our next stop was Kanchi Kamkoti Peetham Meenakshi Temple :

Meenakshi Temple of Kanchi Kamkoti Peetham

Gopuram of Meenakshi Temple : Kanch Kamkoti Peetham

After Kanchi Kamkoti Peetham , we visited Varadharaja Perumal Temple :

Varadharaja Perumal Temple

Entrance of Varadharaja Perumal Temple

Kanchipuram is birthplace of famous Sanskrit poet Dandin . He is writer of Dashakumaracharitam . Another famous Sanskrit poet Bharavi , who wrote Kiratarjuniyam , also hailed from here . Bharavi wrote his Kiratarjuniyam here under the patronage of the Pallav king Simhavishnu .  So out of four most famous poets of Sanskrit , two ; Dandin and Bharavi belong to Kanchipuram . Other two are ; Kalidas and Magha . The famous shloka describing their eminence is still fresh in my memory :

उपमा कालिदासस्य , भारवेरर्थ गौरवं ;
डंडीनः पद लालित्यम , माघे सन्ति त्रयो गुणाः

It is irony of the fate that Kanchipuram , which is second only to Varanasi in Sanskrit learning and which is the centre of Hinduism since time immemorial , is also the birthplace of C. N. Annadurai , an atheist and most famous Dravidian leader , second only to E. V. Ramasami Naicker Periyar . He formed Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam in 1949 and led it to victory in Tamil Nadu assembly elections in 1967 . Though C. N. Annadurai ruled only for 2 years and died in 1969 but his influence on Tamil Nadu and Dravid politics is immense . He is the first Non – Congress and Dravid leader to become Chief minister of Tamil Nadu , then known as Madras  . He is the first Non – Congress leader to come to power with absolute majority in any Indian state and ended monopoly of Congress in Tamil Nadu . M. Bakthavatsalam was the last Congress Chief Minister and since 1967 to 2011 , it is 44 years since Congress lost power . C. N. Annadurai symbolized this Non – Congress sentiment .

Kanchipuram is his birthplace and his house is converted into a memorial . I visited his memorial also ;

C. N. Annadurai's House in Kanchipuram

After Kanchipuram , I proceeded to Vellore . It is a small town 145 km. from Chennai . It is situated on the banks of Palar river . It is famous for hospital and V.I.T. University [ Vellore Institute of Technology ] . Since my sister’s son is studying there I went there to meet him .

With My Nephew Kaustubh in the V. I. T. Campus

V. I. T. Gate

While coming to Kanchipuram from Chennai , one can see Rajiv Gandhi Memorial in Sriperumbudur also . This small place is situated 40 km. away from Chennai and comes under Kanchipuram district . It is birthplace of Sri Ramanujacharya , one of the most prominent Hindu Vaishnav saints . In 1991 Rajiv Gandhi was killed here during an election campaign and this small , unknown town became known to all . I visited his grand memorial ;

Rajiv Gandhi Memorial at Sriperumbudur

Rajiv Gandhi Memorial at Sriperumbudur

Rajiv Gandhi Memorial at Sriperubudur

It is a grand and opulent memorial . I am not against it  . But I am sad that crores are spent on Rajiv Gandhi’s memorial and Subramanya Bharathi’s memorial in Puducherry is now closed .

With this I finished my 12 days pilgrimage , said good-bye to Chennai , took train from Egmore on December 01st and reached Mumbai on December 02nd .

Egmore Station - Chennai

I don’t know whether I would be visiting these place again or not . I do intend to visit but …….? As usual I remember few lines of Hindi poet Agyeya and leave everything to my destiny .

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय 
[ Tenderness of mighty mountains reflected in pine trees ,
Upward moving pathways symbolizing my enthusiasm ,
River , flowing deep down like a line of pain ,
Tiny tots of birds sitting silently in their nest ,
I saw everything with contentment ,
Consoled myself , I would come again ,
After a year or may be after ages ……….
Horizon opened its eyes , lightning dazzled in the sky ,
As if saying ………………
O Wanderer ! Would you ever even remember ? ]

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

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Vidur’s Travel Diary – 3 : Chennai


VAITHEESWARANKOIL  –  NAGAPATTINAM  –  TAMIL NADU          NOVEMBER  28 , 2011              00 .30 A.M.

I was at Tirupati on November 21 , 22 and 23rd . On 24th November I took Garudeshwar Express from Tirupati and  reached Chennai in the morning . Train reached Chennai Central station . I must admit that Chennai Central station is well-kept and well maintained building .

Chennai Central Station

After checking in Hotel Golden Tower on Periyar road , I immediately booked a cab and went for Chennai sight-seeing  . Though I had visited this city almost 6 years back but that time I was not able to see much as it was Sunday and Chennai was Closed .

First my driver took me to Government Museum . It is a sprawling British era building stablished in 1851 . It is the oldest museum of India .and is well-kept . It has three different sections .

At Chennai Museum Main Gate

Chennai Museum - Exterior

After spending more than 1 hour in the museum , I went to Snake Park . Though park is not related to the snakes in any way and I  don’t like the idea also but the place is named as Snake Park , so I had no option . I am not very fond of reptiles also but still went there . Apart from snakes , it also has crocodile section.

Chennai Snake Park - Crocodile Section

Chennai Snake Park - Exterior

From Snake Park , it was turn of a very different building . During British era it was called Ice Building . Ruling British gentry used to keep ice in the building and used to serve it during the evening to those Englishmen , who came for revelry . Now this building is called Vivekanand House .

Ice House / Vivekanand House

From Ice House we went to Fort St. George , the Vidhan Sabha of Tamilnadu Government . On the way we saw Nappier Bridge , which one has to cross while going to Fort St. George . It was built-in 1869 by Governor Nappier across Cooum river .

Nappier Bridge

After crossing Nappier Bridge , we reached Fort St. George , the administrative headquarters of Tamilnadu government . The Flag Mast , which stands in front of the main building is the tallest in the country . Foundation of the Fort was laid in 1640 . Before that Chennai used to be just two villages ; Madraspattinam and Chennaipattinam . East India Company bought some land from the king of Chandragiri and started building the fort . It took 15 years to be completed and was declared open in 1654 .

Fort St. George in the Background

Fort St. George compound has two very important buildings ; St. Mary Church and the Museum . St Mary Church was stablished in 1680 and is the first church of India .

St. Mary Church - Fort St. George

Fort museum was stablished in 1948 .

Fort St. George Museum

Another British Era structure , situated in between Fort St George and the Museum , is a canopy .

The Canopy

Can any description of Chennai be complete without Marina Beach ? Mile of sand and sky blue , azure sea is beyond words . You have to see the spectacle to believe it .

At Marina Beach with my Wife

We all know about the Samadhis of national leaders in Delhi on the banks of Yamuna river . In Chennai also there are two Samadhis on Marina beach . First Memorial belongs to C. N. Annadurai , the first non – Congress Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and also the first leader of Dravidian party to form a majority government in India . He was also the founder of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam [ DMK ] .

Annadurai Memorial at Marina Beach

Another Memorial belongs to MGR , the founder of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam [ AIADMK ] . He , along with Sivaji Ganesan , was the top most Tamil film star . He broke away from the parent party DMK and in 1972 formed AIADMK and subsequently became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu . He was Chief Minister for two consecutive terms ; 1977 – 1982 and 1982 – 1987 and was the first actor in India to become the Chief Minister of a state .

MGR Memorial at Marina Beach

But journey of Chennai cannot be complete without visiting Adyar river . We north Indians don’t know about this huge river but Adyar flows magnificently and silently in Chennai . Along with Cooum river , Adyar  trifurcates the Chennai city .

Adyar River

After spending just one day in Chennai , I proceeded for Vaitheeswarankoil in Nagapattinam district on November 25th . I will again return to Chennai on November 29th. Chennai is not a remote place that I cannot come here again . I might visit it soon . But who knows ? I might not get another chance ! So I remember a poem of Hindi poet Sachchitanand Hiranand Vatsyayan ” Agyeya ” and finish my travelogue of Chennai .

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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